Living in Society

Dreaded Word ‘Gerrymandering’

Autumn blaze maple tree.

Nov. 3 is the last election for Iowa House District 73. The U.S. Census finished counting this month. In 2021 the Iowa legislature will vote on new district maps drawn by non-partisan government staff. I’m voting for Lonny Pulkrabek as our state representative because Democrats should have a say in redistricting.

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann said he will “protect our redistricting process from harmful changes.” He said it often. When he does, he’s distracting us from the current redistricting law.

When a new district map is produced the legislature can accept or reject it without amendments. If rejected, it goes back to the drawing board for a second map which must address issues raised with the first. The legislature can accept or reject the second map without amendments. If the second map is rejected, a third is produced. This map can be amended by the legislature. There is a process if the third map is rejected, which hasn’t happened since 1980 when this redistricting process became law.

That possible third map is why I’m voting for Pulkrabek, to flip the Iowa House to Democratic control, and bring balance to redistricting if Republicans retain control of the Senate.

Without a Democratic majority in one chamber, Republicans could reject the first two maps and tinker with the third to produce a structural Republican advantage for the following ten years. This is called gerrymandering.

I’m voting Pulkrabek for divided government like we had in 2011 when redistricting was considered to be fair. Iowa should be fair.